July 2017 Picks
The novel is disturbing but fascinating; its characters suffer the fevers of real life. There are many sicknesses in the book: a possible case of rabies from a dog-bite, suspected “demon-possession,” various sexual passions disrupting family life and the religious order, and—a persistent theme in the greatest novels—the societal sickness of owning and coercing The any to serve the needs of The Few. Like the struggling Father Delaura, Gabriel-Marquez doesn’t preach or condemn. The novel’s protagonist is asked if he is afraid of being damned for falling in love with a young woman he has been sent to exorcise. Delaura answers “without alarm. ‘I believe I already am, but not by the Holy Spirit. I have always believed He attributes more importance to love than to faith.’” The novel studies the psychology of compulsion, tracing the ways we make the love of another person into something it is not—to serve ourselves, to satisfy our “demons,” rather than discovering the “Holy Spirit” of the other person and finding mutual love. This book is not a glib self-help book, but it does show people struggling to be healed. Since love-sickness is so widespread and the search for healing is universal, many readers will recognize their own struggles in this novel.
A funny, insightful YA novel from the point of view (in many senses) of a teenage boy who has a chance to see for the first time in his life.
An adorable picture book about cats and math and gravity.
June 2017 Picks
Wintersmith is about the education and trials of a new witch, Tiffany Aching. In a seasonal festival she dances with the Wintersmith, displacing the Summer Lady and wreaking all kinds of havoc with the seasons. The resolution of the situation is not easy but does reveal some truths. Worthwhile to anyone, this is a must for Pratchett fans.
Great series for kids, and adults will enjoy these, too. There are 11 books in the series and I recommend reading them in order to enjoy the adventures of main character Nikki Maxwell and the mean girl MacKenzie.
There are, technically, 5 books in The Selection series and some other, in-between stories to read. If you haven’t read any of these books, check them out this summer. Fantastic read, great introduction to YA books for younger teens. Adults will love the dystopian romance of a prince finding his future wife.
This series is funny, charming and addictive. If you’re looking for a perfect summer read to enjoy on vacation, this is the perfect series. The later books lack the carefree charm as the first few in the series, but are still enjoyable reads. There are 8 books in the series, the first being Confessions of a Shopaholic, and lots of crazy characters to enjoy.
If you haven’t read Pulitzer Prize winner, Olive Kitteridge, you’re in for a treat. Olive is a difficult person to love, but in the end the journey is well worth the angst. Told in various voices, all of whom are associated in some respect or other with the title character. Olive Kitteridge is a well-painted portrait of a woman with many layers that will leave you pondering for days to come. PS this is not the movie version which captured nothing of the true nature of Olive Kitteridge. Read the book.
The enchanting, mystical world of Tintagel is the setting for the legend of King Arthur as told from the female character’s perspective. Ms Bradley gives voice to Gwenhwyfar, Viviane, Morgause, and Igraine, weaving tales of the struggle between Celtic culture and the rise of Christianity in Britain. By far the best tale of Arthur this side of Mary Stewart’s Arthurian trilogy (The Crystal Cave, et. al.), which is the best this side of Le Morte D’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory.
Lacy Stoltz is an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct. She is a lawyer, not a cop, and it is her job to respond to complaints dealing with judicial misconduct. After nine years with the Board, she knows that most problems are caused by incompetence, not corruption. But a corruption case eventually crosses her desk. A previously disbarred lawyer is back in business with a new identity. He now goes by the name Greg Myers, and he claims to know of a Florida judge who has stolen more money than all other crooked judges combined. And not just crooked judges in Florida.
Lots of plot turns and twists in this book. Great Read!
Big Cat, Little Cat is a picture book with simple but expressive black and white illustrations. It presents the cycle of life in a gentle way small children can understand.
Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. As he grows older, his sense of curiosity leads him through many interesting adventures.
I loved Gaiman’s storytelling and the world of fantasy he created. This book (or book on CD) can be found in the young adult section.
My June staff pick is The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. It is the first in the Flavia de Luce series. If you don’t know Flavia, you are in for a treat! Flavia is a precocious eleven-year-old living in a grand mansion with her stoic father and her torturous older sisters. Flavia is an aspiring chemist with a knack for finding dead bodies. She has a lovely, though complicated, relationship with her father. Perfect for this year’s Father’s Day.
May 2017 Picks
Quackers by Liz Wong
“Quackers is a furry duck who meows. One day he meets a duck just like him and he learns that he’s a duck and a cat and his own special self. Funny and sweet with adorable illustrations.”
This is Mr. Chaves’s piece for NaNoWriMo. He is ten years old and already a better writer than I am. I am not jealous. Camel the camel is hysterical. Trust me.
Excerpt from Camel the Camel:
“What the heck dude?”
“Ahhh!” The man ran away.
Camel the camel just spit on a random man’s face that he’d found in his desert. Camel laughed like it was a joke. “Th-the way he ran away! With his arms flailing and screaming ‘PFFFT!’ So hilarious!” Camel said. Camel was just a camel with two weird traits: he had no bones in his neck, so he could stretch it all he wanted, and he generated an abnormal amount of saliva (both traits he abused way too much).
Camel always spoke like nothing mattered at all, but when he spit at people for no apparent reason, he laughed so hard, he looked like he just found a good meme on the internet (which had never happened).
Just one selection of 57 of NaNoWriMo 2017. Check out the rest at Fort Bragg Library.
Save vegetable seeds as you harvest so your favorite plants can grow again next season. In this guide, Fern Marshall Bradley covers everything you need to know to successfully save seeds from 20 popular garden vegetables, including beans, carrots, peas, peppers, and tomatoes. Learn how each plant is pollinated, where to store your collected seeds through the winter, and how to test their replanting viability in the spring. Now you can grow the delicious varieties you love year after year.
A group of short stories about a young man’s life in Africa. Born to an African mother and a Swiss Father, Trevor could never show who his father was in public. He lived with his mother and grandmother, having mostly women in his early life. An interesting example of life in Africa for a mixed race child. A great read with wonderful stories, well written, pulls you in and keeps you reading and wanting to know more.
Greetings: my staff pick for May is Patrick F. McManus’ book, Circles in the Snow. In this Bo Tully mystery, the author seems to conclude the series about Blight County law enforcement by having Bo become a successful artist and become engaged to be married. The Blight Way has been amusing, entertaining and substantially unconventional. I sincerely hope that Mr. McManus is not retiring. At the conclusion of the book, the snow circles are explained, and they were not caused by UFO’s. John Teller
Berlin Police detective Gregor Reinhardt attempts to bring a serial killer to justice, however–the crimes are the work of an avenging angel who has his own dark vision of justice that does not include “the law.” Set in 1946, the writing conveys the bleakness of a city ripped apart by war, with the Germans struggling to survive and restore the legitimacy of the state. Reinhardt carries on, playing the Allied forces–France, Britain, US and USSR–against each other at great danger to his life.
Fans of Vera Stanhope and the Shetland series will love this new one by Ann Cleeves.
When a landslide hits the island, Jimmy Perez and gang are thrown into a murder investigation involving a local solicitor, farmer, and a mysterious dark-eyed, dark-haired beauty. This newest edition of the Shetland series is a keeps-you-guessing, hard-to-put-down page-turner.
Forensic expert Maggie Gardiner continues her uneasy partnership with vigilante homicide detective Jack Renner to investigate the murder of a newspaper copy editor.
True to form for the Jack Renner series.
Classic Sophie Kinsella story that her fans will appreciate. Fun twist on a small farm girl trying to make it in the big city of London.
This extremely popular book is worth waiting for, highly recommend requesting the book to read. Wonderful look at an extremely misunderstood and maligned culture, the author does a fabulous job of weaving a wonderful biographical tale while looking at the facts.
A very fun and charming book that fans of British and chick lit genre will appreciate. Darcy McCall inherits a small island, Tara, off the coast of Ireland. To gain the full inheritance and the island permanently she has one catch, she has to live on the island for a year and convince other people to join her, creating a village on the small island. Great weekend read.
April 2017 Picks
A quick, easy read that is set in the early 1900’s about a young Irish woman who has a knack for solving crimes. What I enjoyed about this series is the humor and wit of the main character, as well as the dialect throughout.
If you love Gilmore Girls then this will be a fun book to read!!
April is Autism Awareness Month.
A very interesting read into the life of Temple Grandin.
Great read for fans of the TV show Fixer Upper. Wonderful wholesome story about how the couple came to be on TV.
This is the story about how the Formic Wars that Ender Wiggin’s ended got started. Like any story of a war it has many surprises, twist and turns. Earth Unawares is the first of three novels that tells the story of the first Formic Wars and sets the stage for the start the Ender’s Game. Things are not always what they seem.
A funny, feminist, Canadian answer to Twilight, with crude and clever Stella Blunt falling for Howie the zombie. Recommended for ages 16 and up.
After the fatal crash of a private jet with a wealthy media mogul, his wife and family on board, coincidences and conspiracy rumors start piling up and the two survivors, a family friend and the boy he saved, are right in the middle of the media frenzy. Mixing back stories with the crash aftermath, this is an intriguing read.
A twisty, turny, psychological thriller with a sleek, enigmatic house at the heart of a mysterious death. Told from two viewpoints, Emma (before) and Jane (now), this exciting narrative is difficult to put down, especially when you near the unexpected ending.
Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
March 2017 Picks
While Gemma James investigates the untimely death of a local nanny, her husband, DI Duncan Kincaid looks into a series of murders with ties to the Met that puts not only his closest colleagues in danger but his family as well. Once again, Ms Crombie weaves a web of mystery with characters we’ve come to anticipate and love.
For St. Paddy’s Day:
You think YOUR childhood was rough. In the same vein as Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes, Martha Long tells her story, in the unique language of her younger, Irish self, of growing up poor in Ireland in the 1950s.
First in series. A great read for teens, really enjoyable story about a girl discovering herself. Love the rural type setting & the fact that the main character is not your typical girl.
First in an extremely popular YA series. Wonderful read that teens and adults can enjoy. Well written princess romance theme with a twist. Worth reading the series if you haven’t read it yet.
Great storytime read for kids. Children and adults will laugh out loud with how much trouble Bear has in trying to go to sleep but his friend Duck keeps interrupting him.
A Face in the Crowd and companion documentary: Facing the Past. (DVD)
Megalomania is mesmerizing to watch and terrifying to live with. Elia Kazan directed and Budd Schulberg wrote the script. Andy Griffith acted the part of Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes. Patricia Neal and Walter Matthau played the mesmerized and horrified onlookers, respectively.
Sigmund Freud loomed large in the screening room as the movie was made, pulling strings and yanking levers in the filmmakers’ minds. The female persona exerts some “mysterious control” over the power-seeking male. Very Psych-Noir.
Freud’s view of wounded egos permeates this film. Lonesome starts as Larry, a Face in the Crowd, a drunken hobo that Marcia “uncovers” in an Arkansas jail. When Marcia “outs” her media sensation, Lonesome Rhodes, by turning up the microphones as he trashes his viewers, his heat-seeking Ego crashes and falls. The Audience rejects him. Marcia is cast as the Superego, doing damage control until her creation–the Ego–self-destructs. As in Kazan’s East of Eden, the film climaxes with reality-therapy or the breakdown of illusions about the Self.
Are we that simply made? The film is fascinating and true to life, despite its flirtation with Freud. There are unfettered egos everywhere, begging for attention. And we–the superegos–pretend we’re in control. Read more at http://www.vqronline.org/essay/long-road-lonesome-rhodes
John Puller’s mother, vanished thirty years ago from Fort Monroe, Virginia, when Puller was just a boy. Paul Rogers has been in prison for ten years. But twenty years before that, he was at Fort Monroe. One night three decades ago, Puller’s and Rogers’ worlds collided with devastating results, and the truth has been buried ever since. Military investigators, armed with a letter from his mother’s friend , arrive in the hospital room of Puller’s father–a legendary three-star now sinking into dementia–and reveal that Puller Sr. has been accused of murdering his mother. Aided by his brother Robert Puller, an Air Force major, and Veronica Knox, who works for a shadowy U.S. intelligence organization, Puller begins a journey that will take him into his own past, to find the truth about his mother. An exciting, compelling, a great fast read. I read this one in a weekend.
February 2017 Picks
In April 1940, about 22,000 Polish officers were murdered in the Katyn Forest by Soviet invaders. The film, Katyn, focuses on that event and shows its effect on Polish society during the German occupation and the Soviet era following WW2. The film has a cold, unsentimental strength. It shows the documented atrocities as they happened–individual executions–night and day by Russian officers. Watching too many war movies is a kind of exploitation of the “fear centers” in our brains, desensitizing us to real pain and suffering. We become addicted to viewing violence, and start to see war as “action movies.” One way out of that passive state is to read history. The facts give context to acts of war, exposing the rationale for violence and the political agenda behind it.
Black Earth: the Holocaust as History and Warning, is a play-by-play account of behavior on all fronts leading to the Holocaust. Author, Timothy Snyder, a Yale history professor, shows how strand after strand of propaganda and fear was woven into a poison cloak that killed its wearers. The urge to render groups of people (the Other, the Enemy) stateless and without legal protections, is an ever-present danger. Snyder writes of the Katyn massacre and its implicit goal: to wipe out Polish statehood and awaken fears that would grip and paralyze the minds of any who survived. The destruction of Poland at Katyn–where many Jewish Poles were killed–coincides with Irgun’s insurgence in Palestine and the creation of the modern state of Israel. Black Earth is grim reading but presents the essential facts. One begins to see how the villains–Stalin and Hitler–employed ideologies to draw in supporters and wipe out enemies. No easy answers, only warning shots fired directly from the past into our dangerous present. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. — George Santayana.
The Crossing is the second book of McCarthy’s Border Trilogy and my second favorite book ever. I fell in love with John Grady from All the Pretty Horses and moved to The Crossing only to then fall in love with Billy and his quest to free a pregnant wolf. I threw this book across the room three times and sobbed inconsolably for weeks after I finished it.
A thrilling romantic story set in a traveling circus in the 1930’s during the depression. This story is so much more than just a circus tale, it is a compelling story brought to life by this wonderful writer. This story is filled with vivid characters and a narrative that will keep you up all night.
There was a big OOPS in the prologue in which the author had a weary traveler get jet lag from a trip from Lisbon to the US. Pan Am Clippers were not jets! In 1941 there were no jets. But it gets better; it turns into a domestic mystery when a biological warfare agent is misused, causing casualties. There is good character development and an interesting plot. Enjoy. John
Press the yellow dot on the cover of this book, follow the instructions within, and embark upon a magical journey! You and your children will enjoy seeing this hands-on book come to life. Children can work on learning colors, counting, and following directions.
In honor of Valentine’s Day and our Blind Date with a Book display, here are some fun romances:
A fun YA summer romance story about being proud of who you are and what really matters when judging a person’s character.
Another sweet, fun YA romance story about discovering your first love.
Half psychology of loss and how to work through the 5 stages of grief and half poetry based on the 5 stages. This book helps anyone experiencing loss, of any kind (death, break-up, job, money) to understand the stages and know there is relief, in time. I give copies of this book to family and friends when they experience a loss to help them through the grieving. It’s better than a cheap card and genuinely offers insight into getting through the grief.
Merl the Cat’s pampered life is turned upside down when a little golden retriever puppy moves into the house. Merl tells the story of how he tries his best to oust the newest member of his household. Thwarted at every turn by the ever-growing puppy, he finally comes to terms with the presence of his big dog. Hilarious illustrations by Caldecott Honor winner Janet Stevens make this one story kids will ask to read again and again!
Having experienced bringing another critter into an existing, critter filled household, I totally relate to this adorable story. And Janet Stevens’ illustrations, as always, are incredible.
This is a story of a boy who needed to be broken to feel, to heal, and to love.
This book captivates the heart, chews it up, and spits it out. It is raw, unadulterated, and painful, but it is also beautiful, hilarious, and witty.
A different kind of love story; a coming of age story; a broken book of broken characters. It was heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.
January 2017 Picks
Jen (our newest staff member) recommends:
Greetings: My staff pick for January is Jingo by Terry Pratchett. This book has one of my favorite Pratchett quotes; “Give a man a fire and you’ve kept him warm for a day, set a man on fire and you’ve kept him warm for the rest of his life. Not about fishing, this is about the futility and total lack of glory in war. It also redefines “Police Action” and introduces a device called the “Disorganizer”. Lots of zany, madcap humor with actual meaning. Enjoy. John Teller
Here are my two recommendations for a rainy weekend. Both of these books are at the Fort Bragg Library.
A wonderful new YA book that is perfect for adults. A typical story line about a tomboy who enters the world of beauty and débutantes but it is the twist and the family story that makes a really fun and entertaining read.
A wonderful story about four friends who meet through their blogs and meet up at the Lavender Farm for a celebration. Great friendship story where all four women overcome obstacles and rediscover themselves.
One of the most haunting books I’ve ever read, Smilla teaches us to trust our intuitions and follow through no matter the outcome, but that doesn’t make it less heartbreaking. Full of beautiful information about the Inuit peoples of Greenland, this is a story that will stay with you forever.
Once again, Stephen King got inside my head, read my thoughts and penned them to paper. Beginning with Mr. Mercedes, then following up with Finders Keepers and End of Watch, this trilogy tells the story of the pursuit of mass murderer, Brady Hartsfeld, after he steals a car and mows down a large group of people. Even after Brady is, seemingly, out of commission, his reign of terror continues. Chock full of surprises and interesting characters, this Stephen King trilogy reminds us just how great a writer he is.
A well written historical narrative of the events surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Some new and some old facts written to give a new perspective on these events. If you like Bill O’Reilly or not, this is an interesting read.
December 2016 Picks
I never know if David Sedaris is telling the truth, and I never care. Everything he writes is hysterical and Holidays on Ice does not fall short. The Santaland Diaries make me wish I had once been a dwarf employed as an elf at Christmas. I suggest you borrow the audio version and try to not crash your car when listening to it on the long ride to Grandma’s, it is that funny.
All these books can be found on the Fort Bragg New Bookshelf if not checked out.
Wonderful Read about a Librarian who lost her job and found herself by buying a van converting it into a Bookshop. Charming story with likable characters and Scotland as the wonderful setting of the story. It is a curl up by a fireplace book.
Fun story told through e-mails, blogs and texts, which doesn’t take away from the characters or the story. Cute twist on the traditional love story of boy leaves girl but comes back and tries to win her love again.
A very interesting story with the Monterey Aquarium, Monterey Bay, Doc Ricketts and Steinbeck as the background for the main character Margot. Very intense and beautifully written.
If you’re watching this fantastic series on PBS, you’ll love the books. All the drama and romance of Ross and Demelza, Elizabeth and Francis and more.
The Thrice Brinded Cat Has Mew’d by Alan Bradley
Flavia de Luce is back from Canada only to find her father suffering from a deadly illness and Mr Sambridge just dead. Follow Flavia as she navigates the twists and turns of deception and loss.
As many of you would-be bakers know, making pie is a hit and miss endeavor. Kate McDermott has put years of experience into the making of this book, Art of the Pie. While, as a vegetarian, I object to the use of lard, I was pleased to see Ms McDermott included not only vegetarian versions of her world famous pie crust but vegan and gluten free ones as well, all as great as her non-vegetarian crusts. Plus she throws in some helpful hints along the way on achieving the perfect blend of flavors, both sweet and savory. I highly recommend this book for those who love a good homemade pie.
Alan Doyle, front man for the Newfoundland folk-rock band, Great Big Sea, for over 20 years, has taken on the solo world and knocks it for a loop. On board with him are the Beautiful Gypsies…Cory Tetford on lead guitar, Kendel Carson on fiddle, Shehab Illyas on bass, Kris MacFarlane on drums and Todd Lumley on keyboards and accordion. Fave tracks on this CD are I Can’t Dance Without You, 1 2 3 4, Shine On and Take Us Home. If you get a chance, check out Alan and BGs in concert. Best. Show. Ever.
November 2016 Picks
Greetings: My staff pick for this month is A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman. This book will require patience, as there are 185 requests for 57 copies. This book has dark humor in which Ove is distracted from his suicide attempts by neighbors who need his help; again and again. It is very engaging. I found myself caring about the characters (and a diverse crew they are, including the cat) and eagerly rooted for Ove in his struggle against unfeeling bureaucracy and his grouchy, competent way of helping neighbors who become friends. Very worthwhile. This book was recommended to me by Esther Van Pelt and I was extremely fortunate that a copy came in as a donation, which we kept for our shelf. Enjoy and thank you Esther.
One of the best picture book series ever, artwork is amazing and wonderful stories for kids about being your own person.
The Stupidest Angel is a lovely little book about Christmas zombies. I am terrified of zombies, but Moore’s story-weaving is funny enough to make me laugh through the horror scenes and empathize with the poor not-so-living flesh eaters: they’re just so hungry. The Stupidest Angel is a must read that I suggest you enjoy on the way to any beloved family holiday gathering.
Being on the Murder Squad wasn’t what Antoinette had imagined it would be. Hassled by her fellow detectives, she and partner, Steve Moran, were lucky just to get the domestic murders. Then they are made the leads for the murder of a young woman and find themselves in the middle of squad politics, not knowing if the murder is a domestic or if someone on the squad was on the take. As usual, Tana French brings us a gripping tale of the Dublin Murder Squad, full of twists and surprises along the way.See more 2016 Staff Picks
Check out our staff picks for 2015